Get up early to visit the most beautiful Islamic building in the world, the Dome of the Rock. Non-Muslims may enter only via the Magharba Gate (Sun-Thu 7.30-10.30am and 1.30-2.30pm; noblesanctuary.com), which leads onto the Haram Al Sharif. This paved plaza dotted with monuments, shrines and fountains was formerly the site of the Jewish Temple of Solomon (destroyed in 586BC) and Second Temple (destroyed in AD70).
At its centre the golden dome, 20 metres in diameter, seemingly floats above an octagonal enclosure clad in dazzling green and blue Iznik tiles. This is not a mosque, but a shrine built in AD691 over the rock on which Abraham intended to sacrifice his son (Isaac in Genesis; presumed to be Ishmael in the Quran) and from which Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Across the plaza, Al Aqsa Mosque was rebuilt in the 11th century and can hold 5,000 worshippers. Its lofty interior is supported by 45 columns and includes an exquisite pulpit of carved wood. This was installed in 2007 as a replica of Saladin's original, built in 1187 but destroyed by an arsonist in 1969.